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Afghanistan and US agree strategic partnership deal

US and Afghan negotiators have finalized a strategic partnership agreement outlining American support for Afghanistan following the withdrawal of international forces at the end of 2014.

Poll americans out of afghanistanEnlarge
An Afghan National Army (ANA) looks on during a ceremony at Camp Shaheen in Dehdady district near Mazar-i Sharif on March 26, 2012. The latest poll from New York Times/CBS News found that 69 percent of Americans want US troops out of Afghanistan. (QAIS USYAN/AFP/Getty Images)

Negotiators from the United States and Afghanistan have finalized a strategic partnership agreement pledging American support for Afghanistan for 10 years after troops pull out at the end of 2014.

The US ambassador, Ryan C. Crocker, and Afghanistan’s national security adviser, Rangin Spanta, signed the draft agreement in the capital Kabul on Sunday.

Officials from both countries had expected to sign the deal prior to a NATO summit last May, but were delayed by disagreements over issues like night raids by American troops, according to the Associated Press.

No details of the draft document were released and it does not specify exact amounts of support or programs, but it does promise American economic development support for Afghanistan as well as assistance in areas like agriculture, education and security, The New York Times reports.

More from GlobalPost: 69% of Americans want US out of Afghanistan

US and Afghan officials have said they hope the deal will indicate to insurgents that the US intends to provide sustained support for Afghanistan and not simply abandon the country as it did in the 1990s following the Soviet withdrawal.

In a statement announcing the agreement, Spanta said: “The document finalized today provides a strong foundation for the security of Afghanistan, the region and the world and is a document for the development of the region.”

According to the BBC, there have been sharp disagreements over how much financial aid the US and NATO will continue to provide after international forces withdraw from the country.

Last week Karzai called on the US to pledge a minimum of $2 billion towards the maintenance of Afghan forces. A final commitment on financial support for Afghan security is anticipated at the Chicago summit of NATO leaders next month. 

More from GlobalPost: 'Guardian Angels' to watch over US troops in Afghanistan

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/afghanistan/120422/afghanistan-and-us-agree-strategic-partnership